• Community
    Community

    IMLA Farm is firmly rooted in the Clocolan community

Community Empowerment

Lethoteng Learning Centre founded, within LCC, to focus solely on empowerment through education of children unable to attend school due to unregistered births, etcetera. Tshepo Mabaso, who grew up on IMLA farm, mentored & mothered by Marieta, is one of Lethoteng’s facilitators and a multi-talented presence in Clocolan district.

Workforce Empowerment

  • The IMLA Farm Workforce Empowerment philosophy has developed along the following lines:
  • Commitment to our Creator, the soil, the people on the farm and the greater community, the crops and livestock
  • Build the self-esteem of the team through encouragement to learn & develop continuously
  • Share the IMLA Farm vision with the workforce
  • Continuously improve social security of the team: retirement funding, life insurance, funeral policies, etc
    An ex-employee has become a farmer himself, with Jan mentoring him, a testimony to the rapport built and maintained between the Groenewalds and their team.

With IMLA Guest Farm, yet another empowerment angle has arisen for IMLA Farm personnel. Acquiring skills and adding value in the tourism industry will certainly play its role to further empower the IMLA Farm workforce, their spouses and children. Tourism is one of the key growth industries in South Africa.

Brief History

The Lethoteng philosophy regarding community empowerment revolves around statements like:

  • No child hungry or illiterate. In Clocolan, at first, and then further afield
  • Developing people is a formula for success

Converting negativity to practical, productive actions helps build lives. Socio-economic conditions are extremely unfavourable in Clocolan, at present. Unemployment, illiteracy and related low self-esteem are rife in and around town. Crime, substance abuse etcetera are unacceptably high. Of course, this creates a dire situation where social healing through education and empowerment becomes of extreme importance.

Lethoteng Community Centre, a Non-Profit Organisation (NPO) registered at the Department of Social Development (138-672 NPO) to do something about the situation, involves community members to help direct the focus of LCC.

 

1988 - Lethoteng Weavers

Marieta Groenewald founded Lethoteng (‘at great heights’) Weavers, to improve the standard of living and self-image of unemployed and unskilled adults in and around Clocolan. 200 women were eventually employed. Mohair products were manufactured and sold. Angora rabbits and goats & sheep’s wool were used during the years. Later, cotton children’s clothes were also manufactured. Lethoteng Weavers had shops in Bloemfontein’s Middestad Centre and Clocolan, with agents in Gauteng and Cape Town. Women manufactured the products on IMLA Farms. Along with the business, a training centre was founded for people from Clocolan and other areas. Men helped their wives by making spin wheels from bicycle wheels and building manual looms. Production and creative skills were transferred through intensive training, including managerial training. Adult Basic Education was addressed to ensure empowerment through a well-rounded package.

1998 - Free State Government

Lethoteng Weavers acquired by the Free State Government & renamed to Free State Home Industries. Today, school clothes are made from this business.

1999 - Children's Homes

With Marieta’s regular Lethoteng Weavers work in Clocolan itself, the plight of the many street children moved her to take action. Started taking soup for some. This wasn’t ideal, because children were still victimised by others. Two children’s homes arose, founded by Marieta, as a result, in Clocolan, and one in Ficksburg. The governance responsibility for these centres was passed on to the respective governance boards, to allow Marieta to focus on other priorities in the community.

2014 - Lethoteng Learning Centre

Lethoteng Learning Centre founded, within LCC, to focus solely on empowerment through education of children unable to attend school due to unregistered births, etcetera. Tshepo Mabaso, who grew up on IMLA farm, mentored & mothered by Marieta, is one of Lethoteng’s facilitators and a multi-talented presence in Clocolan district.

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